The USDA has officially extended waivers for the Tuscaloosa County Child Nutrition Program through September, meaning that all children in Tuscaloosa County and City School Systems will eat completely for free through September, including during the summer months.

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School districts within the county first got federal waivers at the beginning of this school year to provide free meals to all students. These waivers offered each student a free breakfast and lunch for the 2020-21 school year.

Advocates, however, have continued to push for more long-term solutions to help families struggling during the pandemic. From March to August 2020, over 1 million meals were served across the county.

"The meal waivers mean that the Tuscaloosa City Schools is able to continue supporting families by providing nutritious meal options," said Lesley Bruinton, Public Relations Director for Tuscaloosa City Schools. "During the course of the pandemic, many families have come to rely upon them in the past year, and so we are excited to continue that. This is another way we can continue removing barriers for students."

In a post to their Facebook page last week, the TCCNP said that they are continuing to develop their Summer Feeding Program for 2021, with more updates to come.

"Our team is committed to the health and well-being of our children and will continue to strive to meet the needs of every child," the post said.

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